Examine Contentment

Dear J-

At times it feels like I have a kind of anterograde amnesia: if I don’t write it down right away I’m not likely to remember it overnight. I have all kinds of lists in a little notebook at work, waiting for me to update it as the day wears on. I’ve always liked to say I learned something unexpected from every job I’ve worked, such as database and Excel skills from the cost engineering job and how to organize thoughts and memories from the last job, where you were quite unlikely to remember enough on a given project to the next day when you picked up where you left off, hoping that everything you did didn’t leak out overnight while you numbed your brain with television and snacks.

Stay awake, stay afloat, keep your legs moving forward and I always wonder what I can do next to reduce resource use, whether it’s going paperless (as much as possible) or developing some new skill I hadn’t thought of before. Sure, whatever. In reading enough Murakami over the past month (Kafka on the Shore now) I’ve come to identify for no particular reason with the disaffected protagonists, who already have everything they want and keep asking if that’s still enough. Has it ever been? Should it always be? One of the things that’s changed besides selling a house and moving away and feeling off-balance and starting a new job and well just about everything, one of the things that’s changed is examining contentment.

Contempt-ment? Perhaps. Just like our ill-fated adventures in real estate (finally winning the third offer, but not realizing how much we may have overpaid — we’ve just reduced our asking price to a little over what we paid, ten years ago) if we had never had to move, maybe if I’d worked harder at trying to stay, regrets are many and they could drive you nuts if you let them. You handle things one step at a time, otherwise you could drive yourself nuts doing everything all at once in a fruitless sort of paralysis. Small steps, together. I remind myself how lucky I am.

Mike

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